Rahman agrees to rematch with Ruiz for WBA crown

No word yet from champ

later title fight here eyed

Boxing

May 21, 2004|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Former heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman said yesterday he has agreed to a rematch with World Boxing Association champion John Ruiz, possibly in August, though Ruiz has not yet signed on.

Rahman said he wants to win the title from Ruiz, then bring his hometown of Baltimore its first world championship fight, perhaps in October at M&T Bank Stadium.

But he said everything is contingent on Ruiz's signing. And Rahman, 31, also must first defeat Rob Calloway, 34, in a June 17 fight at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie.

"When I lost to Ruiz [by unanimous decision in December], I thought it would take me two or three years to get another title shot, but Don [King, their promoter] told me personally that he would get me another opportunity to do what I was supposed to do," said Rahman, who traveled from his home in Las Vegas for a tour of M&T Bank Stadium yesterday.

"Everybody in front of me [in the WBA's rankings] just happened to get a title shot - both Klitschkos [Vitali and Wladimir] and Corrie Sanders - and that elevated me right back up," Rahman said.

"I've got to take care of business, win the title. And when I do that, I want my first defense to be right here at [the] Ravens stadium."

Rahman (37-5-1, 30 knockouts) is ranked No. 2 by the WBA. The World Boxing Organization lists him as No. 3, the World Boxing Council has him No. 4 and the International Boxing Federation ranks him No. 5. Those groups' respective champs are Lamon Brewster, Vitali Klitschko and Chris Byrd.

A victory over Calloway (47-4-1, 34 KOs) would be the third straight win for Rahman, who went 0-3-1 after knocking out Lennox Lewis for the undisputed heavyweight crown in April 2001.

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